Kittie played its first real gig in February 1998 and the foursome realized there is a big difference between the basement and the stage.
"The very first show we played – I recall this very well – we played here in town and it was total stage fright. Becoming a performer and being able to express yourself in front of crowds takes a lot of practice. It's like school; you have to learn how to do that. The first show was really nerve-racking but it was also a turning point. When we made it through that first gig, we were like, ‘Wow, let's go out and do that again!'"
The band began to stretch its touring legs last summer with two weeks of dates opening club shows for Skinlab. Lander said they knew it was time to get serious about the band and they needed to see how they would fare on the road.
They soon discovered that touring is a learn-as-you-go experience and Kittie has been getting a very good education since The Agency Group's Dave Kirby took over the band's booking.
"I'm not sure how we got involved with Dave Kirby. I know we had a couple other booking agents before but they didn't work out. We were trying out different people, seeing who could get us some good deals, good gigs. Dave is definitely a keeper," Lander said.
Other, more subtle, benefits came with playing night after night. The Kittie-grrls found they had a more cohesive unit. "We're not just four individuals on the same stage anymore; we share the same brain. We are a collective. When we're playing, I really understand what everyone is doing because we work as a whole."
Months on the road have given Kittie time to hone its live act to a super-sharp metal edge. The four close friends wield that power with a sense of self respect, even vocation.
"Playing the shows is definitely one of the most important things we do. Getting out there and presenting ourselves in the flesh and communicating to people is a really important aspect of being in a band. We'd rather be on tour than worrying about getting a video on MTV. It adds a completely different energy. There's this exchange of adrenaline that you don't get from listening to a CD."
By the time they get to the start of The Ozzfest 2000 tour, the bandmates will be more than ready to share that chemistry with the festival audience and prove what their Internet fans already know. Almost every single post on the band's official bulletin board shares the same opinion: "Kittie kicks ass."